Stolen Bikes



I think every single Dutch person has a story about how their bike was stolen. Or every person who has ever owned a bicycle in Holland for that matter. I have the distinction of having “my” bicycle stolen before I’d ever used it – my husband, in anticipation of my imminent move to Holland, purchased a bike for me. It was gone before I’d even arrived.

Amsterdam is known as the bike-theft capital of the world. People joke that if you want to buy a cheap bike, all you have to do is go to the Amsterdam Centraal station and buy one for €20 from a desperate junkie muttering “Fiets kopen?” (“Buy a bike?”). Of course, that only encourages theft, and you also risk getting a fine.

There is no escaping it. I know people who locked up their new bikes with multiple locks (including the solid U-shaped locks) and still had them stolen. And not only new bikes are stolen, but also old bikes (“my” bike was an inexpensive second-hand one… but not from a junkie). One novel strategy people take is to decorate their bike in garish colours to make it more conspicuous, thereby supposedly reducing the likelihood of it being stolen. Good luck…


About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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